Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles
Sarah demonstrates how she creates a musical foundation for her new piece, and then shapes a melody on top of that foundation.
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Your First Assignment
- Watch the video in which Sarah describes the way she starts to shape the musical setting of her original lyrics.
- Note how she uses repeated phrases, layers, and rhythms to create a foundation for melodic experimentation before she shapes a melody to go over the foundation.
- Listen to the recording of yourself speaking your lyrics in rhythm.
- Start by asking yourself what you think is the right tempo and mood for a song based on your lyrics.
- Using your phone or an online digital audio workstation (DAW) like SoundTrap, start creating some vocal ideas for you to layer on top of each other into a musical foundation.
Your Second Assignment
- Play your musical foundation and start experimenting with different shapes for your melody by going up and down in pitch.
- When you find something you like, repeat it so that you remember it and see if it sounds good to you.
- Try recording your melody using your phone or an online digital audio workstation (DAW) like SoundTrap.
Explore Other Parts of Speak Your Music
Introduction | Express Yourself
Mazz Swift, Clay Ross, and Sarah Elizabeth Charles share their backgrounds and processes for creating music.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson One: Finding a Theme
Mazz shares her distinct approach to using improvisation as a way of generating musical ideas to use in composition.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Two: Tweaking, Tinkering, and Messing with Your Music
Mazz shares her recommendations for manipulating and organizing basic musical ideas in order to explore different compositional approaches.
Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Three: Finished! For Now …
This video features the questions that Mazz uses to determine whether a piece of music is done or requires further editing.
Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson One: Building a Frame
Clay introduces his band Ranky Tanky and talks about the origins of their song “All For You.”
Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Two: Making It Yours
Clay breaks down how he used source material from the Gullah tradition and West African music to create his original song.
Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Three: A Life of Its Own
Clay explores how “All For You” evolved into new shapes as Ranky Tanky collaborated with other artists.
Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson One: My Big Idea
Sarah describes how she uses a big question to spark the idea for a new song that explores the relationship between all human beings.
Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson Three: Growing My Idea
Sarah explains how her collaboration with a musical friend helped to shape the final version of her new piece.